By Jake McCormick
While watching the Green Bay Packers victory over the San Francisco 49ers, my girlfriend asked me an interesting question: Has any other player in professional sports done what Brett Favre is doing? That is, play more than a decade and become a legend, only to defect to the enemy like Anakin Skywalker. At the time, I thought it was unprecedented.
It took me approximately 43 hours to realize there is one athlete that turned to the dark side (depending on your point of view), dominated in an unprecedented way after that point, manipulated the system for personal gain, caused many unnecessary controversies because of his inflated ego, and had ESPN anchors and staff members bagging the dirt he walked on and marketing it as Jesus reincarnate.
Roger Clemens was Brett Favre before it was cool to insert an “I” in team. The only difference is Clemens enjoyed christening his genitals with hot ointment before every game and had his longevity of success by way of the “needle in butt” method.
I then proceeded to wonder why it took me so long to remember the Rocket’s warp speed travel from ESPN darling to national laughingstock. Then, like a Fighting Irish fan face-to-face with Jimmy Clausen, it hit me: He’s getting what he deserves.
As a player, Clemens relished in his fame enough to get involved with a then-underage country singer and didn’t let the fact that he was married get in the way of a good time. He also got special treatment from nearly all the teams he played for later in his career, which definitely rubbed many players the wrong way. He was as indecisive about retirement as a player can be, and was egotistical enough to announce a midseason comeback from the Yankee press box (which the press ate up like a Thanksgiving turkey, of course).
His comeback trail was lined with ESPN cameras and brown nosers hoping to catch a glance from the (Fool’s) golden boy of pitching. They broadcast a Single A game nationally where he only pitched three innings. That’s almost as bad as camping outside a mansion in a redneck town of 500 people just hoping to see th…wait, nevermind.
Do any of these traits sound familiar? Talk to anyone around Green Bay (especially bar owners) and they’ll tell you Favre and Mark Chmura had more than a few good times with the Wisconsin female population (Think Rick Pitino, minus the rape accusations). Favre has also been called a selfish loner more concerned with personal gain and unafraid to agitate the people he once called teammates because the only person that matters at the end of the day is No. 4. I’m surprised the Rocket and him aren’t closer.
Now Clemens is probably sitting on his porch in Texas with a shotgun muttering denials of steroid use with no one but his increasingly mushy thighs and Raisonets assuring him that if he lies enough, it might be true. Call it the George W. Bush syndrome. With the dropped defamation suit against accuser Brian McNamee and Mark McGwire preparing for the storm that will set on St. Louis during his first press conference as the Cardinal hitting coach, Clemens is left to wander the sports world alone and embarrassed like the Incredible Hulk.
And he absolutely deserves it. I don’t expect similar treatment of Favre because he didn’t cheat at the game he loves, but Clemens has been kicked out of the party of players who became born again in baseball after accepting their pasts as cheaters. For once in the sports world, someone who was great but a complete and utter failure as a rational, likeable human being is getting what they deserve from their sport and its fans: silence. If there’s any integrity left in a game marred by the path of least resistance similar to Jeff’s Shortcuts, we’ll keep it that way until he learns something.